Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Christian Wife, Young Son Cast Off in Laos – June 12th

The Voice of the Martyrs, June 6, 2024 (excerpts)

Kaew placed her trust in Christ through the prayers of her parents, who became Christians after her marriage. Her husband and his parents, as well as their village, opposed her decision to follow Christ and tried repeatedly to make her recant. On December 30, 2023, Kaew’s husband and other villagers berated and beat her until she passed out. When she regained consciousness, she was given one more chance to recant, but she insisted on following Christ.

In anger, her husband threw her out of the house. Heartbroken, she took their 7-year-old son and returned to her parents’ home with very little besides the clothes they wore. Kaew’s husband has since divorced her. Because her parents are also suffering persecution for their faith, including destruction of crops and damage to their property, they are struggling to support Kaew and her son.

The Communist government, in conjunction with Buddhist monks, persecutes Christians, with the exception of the government-controlled Lao Evangelical Church. Poverty, lack of infrastructure and mountainous terrain make evangelistic outreach challenging. Thanks to bold evangelists, churches continue to grow even as they experience ongoing persecution.

Most believers are persecuted by family members or village authorities concerned that Christians offend the spirits, and the central government restricts Christian activity.

Mission Support within the Congregation, Missions

Jacksons – June 12th – Update 2 (excerpts)

Fraser is currently at the TEASA Consultation in Johannesburg.  Give thanks for some excellent and thought-provoking presentations.  Pray for him as he presents his workshop on Wednesday, 12th.

Dawn’s still discussing anger in the Maximum Bible study and a particular warder came up whom many of the men find awkward, obstructive and difficult to deal with. Thank God that some of the prisoners have already realised that this man needs prayer and they need humility in their attitudes before him. Pray that God will be glorified and others confused (in a good way) by unexpected behaviour.

Pray for the inmates who follow Jesus. They say that many who are active in the gangs know that what they are doing is wrong but don’t want to give it up for Jesus. Pray for a life-giving change.

Faiek was a new member of the Medium A Bible study today. We have a tradition that newcomers introduce themselves at the start of class. Faiek said straight away that he was a Muslim, but the imam hadn’t come today and, whilst lying on his bed, he’d felt a call to attend the Bible study. Pray that he felt welcomed, understood what he heard, was intrigued by what he experienced and will return next week. He accepted the offer of a Bible in Afrikaans to take away for himself. Pray that he will read it and encounter Jesus.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Ordeal Christian Leaders Face in India – June 12th

Morning Star News, June 7, 2024 (excerpts)

Pastor Josemon Pathrose spent nearly all of February in jail and finally got his confiscated vehicle back after four months. The harassment and criminal charges he’s endured at the hands of Hindu extremists are not uncommon in India.

Pastor Pathrose and another Christian were driving back to their base in Madhya Pradesh state from Uttar Pradesh state on Feb. 3 when they stopped in Jalaun District, to visit a family who had attended his online meeting.

As they were having tea, members of two Hindu extremist groups barged in, alleging the 55-year-old pastor was visiting to fraudulently convert people. Police soon arrived and arrested Pastor Pathrose and his companion.  They seized his vehicle, Bibles and literature and took them and three other Christians to the police station, he said.

“They slapped us as they questioned us,” Pastor Pathrose told Morning Star News. “They called me the leader of the ‘conversion racket’ and beat me more than my friend.”

Officers asked them how much money they offered for each conversion to Christianity, how many people had they converted, where they got foreign funds for conversions, how many places had they evangelized, and “Who else is in your gang,” among other questions, the pastor said.

Also arrested was the adult son of the host family and his friend, the pastor said.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Baptists pressurised to accept illegal agreement – June 12th

Church in Chains, May 29, 2024 (excerpts)

Local government officials in Hidalgo state in southern Mexico are pressurising a group of 151 Baptists expelled from their villages to sign an agreement that violates human rights protections under Mexican law.

The Baptists were forced out of neighbouring villages on 26 April because of their religious beliefs. Village leaders cut off their electricity, vandalised and blocked access to their church and some of their homes and posted guards at the entry points to the villages. The expelled Christians had suffered years of persecution because of their refusal to participate in local religious festivals that are incompatible with their faith.

In a press conference on 15 May, church leaders said that they do not want to accept the agreement, which is being pushed by the municipal government in the nearby city, because it would allow village leaders to fine the victims approximately £7000, ban 5 families from returning and only permit the other families to return under the severe restrictions imposed on them since 2015.

The group of expelled Christians numbered 139 at first, but grew as church members working outside their villages at the time were refused entry when they tried to go home.

The government initially provided food and water, but in insufficient quantities, and the group was then moved to another area where local churches provided humanitarian aid and joined in the call for the government to respond.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Three Christian missionaries killed by gangs in Haiti – June 12th

Barnabas Aid, May 30, 2024

Please pray for the families of Christian missionaries Davy and Natalie Lloyd and Jude Montis, who were killed in a gang ambush in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince on 23 May.

Davy Lloyd, 23, and his wife Natalie, 21, a missionary couple from the US, worked for the Christian organisation Missions in Haiti, which was founded by Davy’s parents in 2000.

The couple were shot dead alongside Jude Montis, a Haitian national who had worked for the missionary organisation for 20 years.

The missionaries were attacked when they were leaving church with a group of children.

Three trucks full of gang members ambushed them and robbed them, leaving them tied up.

The missionaries escaped to a house connected to their mission to take cover, as more gang members arrived. The gang members shot at the house, killing all three Christians.

Haiti is currently in the midst of surging violence and insecurity, as rival armed gangs control more than 80% of Port-au-Prince.

Approximately 362,000 Haitians have been displaced by the violence and insecurity, and in the first three months of 2024 alone, more than 1,500 people have been killed by gang violence.

Mission Support within the Congregation, Missions

Steadfast Global – June 12th – Update 2

Steadfast Global, 7th June 2024

Pakistan:  

74-year-old Christian businessman, Nazeer Masih Gill, died in hospital on 3 June as a result of serious head injuries he received after being attacked by a mob in Sargodha, Punjab on 25 May. The mob formed outside Mr. Gill’s home around 6 a.m. after he was falsely accused of burning pages from the Qur’an. After police arrived to take Mr. Masih into custody for further investigation, the mob attacked throwing bricks and stones and striking him about the head to his serious injury.   

India:

A young Christian widow who witnessed the murder of her 22-year-old husband, has fled her home and community in fear of her life. Jime Kawasi is now in hiding after relatives killed Kosa Kwasi on 4 May following a ruling by villagers in Bastar District, Chhattisgarh, that families with Christian converts were forbidden from participating in festival offerings to local gods. The killing also resulted in five other Christian families fleeing the village and area.

Nigeria:

Media outlets have reported the good news that 350 hostages, most of whom are women and children, were rescued by the Nigerian army following a raid on a Boko Haram camp in the Sambisa Forest in Borno State. Of the number, 209 are children – many believed to have been born as a consequence of forced marriage, 135 women and six men. The released captives are being cared for by the authorities ahead of their return home.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

The Kuranko in Guinea – June 12th

Joshua Project, June 10th, 2024

The Kuranko are a branch of the Malinke tribe that immigrated into Sierra Leone from Guinea. They occupy a large area in both northern Sierra Leone and southern Guinea. Different groupings within the Kuranko people each have their own chiefs, traditions and heritage. Some are hunters, some are warriors, and some are traders. Some are pagan, while others follow Islamic belief. The region where they live lacks adequate road systems and is not easily accessible, leaving the Kuranko socially isolated.

Some Kuranko believe that in the forests, rivers and mountains live quasi-human beings known as Nyenne. It is believed that the Nyenne can make women barren, cause insanity, and cause farming accidents. However, Nyenne can sometimes be friendly, bringing good fortune.

The Kuranko people live in remote parts of Sierra Leone and Guinea, and access to them is somewhat difficult.

The full Bible is now available in the Kuranko language, and there are a number of good resources such as the JESUS Film. However, workers are needed to carry these to the Kuranko people, answer their questions, and assist in the planting of additional churches.

There are a number of individuals in this people group who identify themselves as Christians, but they almost certainly need mature Christians to disciple them. Pray for the Kuranko to be completely set free from belief systems that deny them new life in Christ.

Mission Support within the Congregation, Missions

Blythswood – June 12th – Update 2

Daniel Centre

Aura, replacing Louisa as Counsellor in the Daniel Centre, has started work and is doing well.  Danny’s sister in Germany who worked for the Daniel Centre in its early years is very ill with cancer.

For 4 days later this week, Balazs visits a project that Blythswood supports in Bulgaria with Jeremy Ross and James Campbell.  The project involves a church plant among the Roma people,

Balazs will continue working with their 3 partners in Ukraine after Christian Aid finishes their commitment there in February.  Olga, who co-ordinates that work, now hopes to live permanently in Cluj with the Daniel centre rather than return to her native Ukraine.

Balazs also works with a Christian Seminary in Moldova which prepares students to work among the Communist and Muslim populations of the old Soviet Union.

 Talita Kum

Adi is in good form and does not want to give up teaching the TK1 and TK2 children himself, so they are currently well-staffed.  Nor does he seem to have any intention of giving up plans for an eventual TK4.  He is currently working with his camp for HIV sufferers and will again be receiving volunteers from Inverness for his summer camp for young people at the end of June.

Missions, The Persecuted Church Across the World

Pastor’s Wife Held at Gunpoint – May 29th

The Voice of the Martyrs, May 23, 2024

Javier and Katherine lead a church in Buenaventura, considered to be the most dangerous city in Colombia. The couple ministers by caring for the needs of the community, which has drawn negative attention from the guerrillas who control the area. Through Javier and Katherine’s ministry, many have placed their faith in Christ and lives have been transformed, which has brought further opposition.

Their lives have been threatened, and they have been forced to move several times, but they remain committed to sharing the hope of Christ. Earlier this year, Katherine was held at gunpoint by her brother-in-law, a guerrilla commander, while Javier was trapped, unable to help her.

Though her brother-in-law was initially arrested, officials released him. He has threatened Katherine again, and she and her children have not been able to leave their house since his release. She and the children have also suffered significant chronic health issues.

Many Christians in Colombia are taking great risks to share the gospel in some of the most dangerous places for Christians on earth. Working in these hostile areas often results in persecution from armed guerrillas and paramilitary forces.

Guerrillas continue to oppress Christians and remain involved in the drug trade. Christians are targeted because their obedience to God’s Word prevents them from supporting or joining the violent factions funded through narcotics trafficking and other criminal activities.

Mission Support within the Congregation, Missions

Jacksons – May 29th – Update 1 (excerpts)

Give thanks for the encouraging Restoration session Dawn and Ashley held on Saturday, despite some last-minute attempts at disruption. We spent the morning looking at how our actions affect others, how the ripple effect of offending is far wider than we like to believe, how distorted patterns of thinking influence the decisions we make and how we can live lives of integrity.

We have decided to call the community outreach Restorative Transformation (RT), aiming to help people transform their lives by restoring relationships on all levels – with themselves, their families and friends, the community and ultimately with God.  

Dawn is having interesting discussions about anger management at Drakenstein.  Thank God several men have felt able to ask personal questions, feeling that the Bible study groups are a safe place.

Pray the participants will apply what they learn to their own lives to make a big difference in the community.

Give thanks for progress Fraser has made on the extension to our church website and for his workshops for the Theological Education Association in Southern Africa conference in Pretoria in June, particularly to pitch them so attendees see the relevance to their local situation(s).